Spooning and Forking

Archive for July, 2011

Coffee : Part 1

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

This week’s episode is the first in a two part series on coffee, a topic near and dear to my heart. In fact, I’m writing this post after coming from working the night shift, a feat I achieve each week almost exclusively with the help of a large Beano Buzz from Café Beano.

There are two kinds of people in this world : those who drink coffee, and those who don’t. On the surface I respect people who don’t need coffee to function, but secretly I judge them, because even if you are a well-rested and healthy person who doesn’t push the limits of youth by working all night long and don’t need caffeine to function, don’t you want coffee just to enjoy? It’s delicious and gives you super functioning powers! When someone tells me they don’t drink coffee I find myself immediately suspicious of them.

Amongst coffee drinkers there is another distinction between those who drink for caffeine, and those who drink for the coffee. While caffeine is my best friend and support system, I also drink coffee because it is social and delicious. Furthermore, coffee isn’t just about the buzz and the flavour, it’s also largely about the experience of drinking it. This idea led me to the amazing local organization YYC Disloyalty. I had the opportunity to interview two of the girls involved in the program, Chelsea Watson and Brieanne Biblow.

To listen to their perspective on being a Loyal Disloyal coffee drinker, listen to the episode on iTunes.

To learn more about their program, visit http://www.yycdisloyalty.com/

The website includes links to all the participating cafes, including my favorite, Café Beano.

Make sure to check back this weekend, as they’re announcing an exciting new initiative!

We also had the opportunity to speak to Ken Cutler, the owner of the Bean Stop in Eau Claire market. Anyone with imagination has at some point wandered past the eclectic displays of tea pots and wondered what kind of oddities are being offered. Well, this week we found out our curiousity was well founded. To learn more about Kopi Luwak coffee, or in Ken’s own words, the cat poop coffee, check out this great NYT article.

When I spoke to Chelsea and Brieanne the conversation quickly and frequently digressed to discussions on the merits of pastries from their participating cafes.  This week I’m foregoing a coffee related recipe since apparently the people at Deville can bake better than I can. Instead, I chose something to take advantage of the amazing seasonal produce. During a recent visit to the Calgary Farmer’s Market I bought a bag of 4 big beautiful bell peppers for $5.00! Unheard of! Should you wonder how to make use of pounds of bell peppers, as I did once I got home, here is a good starting point.

Black Bean Confetti Salad (From Smitten Kitchen)

This works equally well as a small salad–even tossed with salad greens for more bulk–or alongside salsa fresca for scooping up with a tortilla chip.

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and well-rinsed
4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped into a small dice

1/2 super-large or 1 medium white onion, chopped into a small dice

Juice of one lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Optional: If you’re the kind of person who loves cilantro, it’s a great match for this salad.
Mix beans, bell peppers and white onion in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Ideally, you’ll have a 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour it over the bean mixture, toss it well and adjust seasonings to taste.


Calgary Folk Music Festival 2011

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This week’s episode we chat with Johanna Schwartz of the Calgary Folk Fest about how they are doing their part for the environment and for local and sustainable food at this years Calgary Folk Music Festival. At this year’s festival Slow Food Calgary chapter will be offering fresh veggies and produce, snacks and meals, as well as hosting a number of local organizations, catering and other great surprises. If you are out on Prince’s Island Park this weekend, find the Slow Food Calgary tent and get involved in your food system.

Also, local troubadour, the ever-charming Matt Masters, was this week’s Ask the Expert. Amanda asks Matt about what it is like to eat on the road as a touring musician. He gives a couple great tips on how to eat well while touring – it doesn’t always have to be jars of peanut butter and loaves of bread.

And, Marc chats with Desiree Duigou, who is on the Harvest Crew as a volunteer for this years’ Calgary Folk Music Festival. Find out what that means, by checking out the iTunes podcast for this week’s episode of Spooning & Forking.

Tunes played on the broadcast episode by artists playing at this year’s Calgary Folk Music Festival:
• Poor, Poor Farmer – Matt Masters
• Whiskey in my Whiskey – Felice Brothers

As for a recipe this week: I am going to bypass it because I am hoping that y’all are all out on Prince’s Island taking in the wonderful sounds organized by such a great and mindful group of people, and enjoying the tasty treats on offer by the numerous vendors. Also, I would love a report back on the lovely treats found at the Slow Food Calgary tent.


Community Gardens

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Over the past few months I have spoken with a number of people about Community Gardens. I spoke with Janet Melrose, from the Calgary Horticultural Society in early March about Seedy Saturday. In April I spoke with Elizabeth Joliceur, the President of the Calgary Horticultural Society. Most recently, I interviewed Paul Varga, who is spearheading the project of starting the second community garden in the SW neighborhood of Cliff-Bungalow Mission.

What is Community Gardening all about?

The Community Gardens Resource Network (CGRN) is a long-term program of the Calgary Horticultural Society that has been funded in part through a grant from The Calgary Foundation. The CGRN aims to strengthen and promote community gardening in the city of Calgary. The program creates a network of resources, expertise and collaborative connections to assist with the start-up of new community gardens and ongoing support for established gardens.

Here are some little facts about Community Gardening in Calgary:

* The idea of community gardening is over 100 years old.
* In 2007 Calgary had 12 established community gardens.
* In 2008 there were 9 public community gardens, 2 ornamental community gardens, and 4 private community gardens.
* In 2009 there were 21 public community gardens, 3 ornamental public gardens and 25 private community gardens.

Total numbers, as of today, July 12, 2011 there are 100 Community Gardens in the ground in Calgary and over 50 in various stages of planning. A pretty huge jump in numbers since 2007, non?

Check out the Calgary Horticultural Society website and follow links to the Community Garden Resource Network, for more information on how to get involved, or just for curiosity. Find out who your community rep is at the City of Calgary.

And remember to download our podcast on iTunes.

Happy planting, growing & cultivating,

Recipe of the Week
What is something that you can make whether you grow on 40 acres of land or within pots on your balcony? Pesto. There are so many variations of pesto and you can use it for a myriad of dishes: as an accent to a fun crostini appetizer, as a sauce for a delicious pasta dish, use a pesto on a roast rack of lamb, or just serve it to flavor a Thanksgiving pork roast.

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and nuts blended with olive oil and cheese – thank you Wikipedia. But like I said you can make tons of variations.

Check out local foodie extraordinaire, Dan Clapson’s Cranberry Walnut Pesto

Roasted Artichoke Pesto

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon gray salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 packages frozen artichokes
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a deep ovenproof pan, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Add the frozen artichokes and mix to coat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and cook until the artichokes are browned in spots and tender when pierced, about 35 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool in the liquid.

Remove the bay leaf. Put the cooled artichokes with the liquid into a blender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and basil leaves and process until smooth.

Deep-Fried Stampede and other delights

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Those who know me best can you tell you that my favorite type of food is deep fried food. In fact, family friends, work colleagues, neighbors and even strangers I meet on the street could probably tell you the same thing. I really like deep fried food. Food is altered when it is cooked to make it more digestible and more delicious. While the digestibility of deep-fried food is debatable, no one will deny that anything is made instantly more satiable when battered and cooked in oil. If only for this reason, I am very excited each year Stampede rolls around. It’s easy to become jaded about something we’ve all become so accustomed to in our city, but this year the Stampede offers new treats that allow us to see it with innocent eyes.

During my interview with Midway Operations Manager James Radke, I learned about the new offerings available at the Stampede for 2011. Check out the episode on iTunes to learn about such wonders as the Blooming Onion and Kobi-Korn balls.

Of course, even I know that one cannot survive on deep-fry alone. That is what free pancake breakfasts are for! This proud Calgarian tradition was founded in 1923 when chuck wagon driver Jack Morton invited folks to break the fast with him. Since then, pancake breakfasts have evolved into an important part of Stampede, with at least one every day. It is easy to find these events through your work, church, or by following the scent of syrup wafting through downtown. Here at Spooning and Forking we decided our favorite was the midnight pancake breakfast hosted at District – everything made from scratch with local farmers providing the pork. The event is easy stumbling distance from the grounds and for a good cause! District chef Heather Gould Hawke spoke to us about the event and other goings on during the Stampede. For more information on BBQ season at District, check out their website.

Finally, in the interest of maintaining health during the Stampede season, this week’s recipe is a berry sauce, taking advantage of all the lovely berries coming into season and perfect for pouring on top of pancakes!

Taken from the Moosewood cook book

Moosewood Berry Sauce

Makes about ¾ cup
1 cup fresh (or frozen defrosted) berries
1- 2 Tbs sugar
a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice

1) Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree.
2) Strain through a fine sieve to separate out, and discard, the seeds. Taste to adjust sugar and lemon juice.
3) Transfer to a container, cover tightly and refrigerate. This sauce keeps very well for a week or longer.

What’s your favourite food at the Stampede? Will the pulled pork parfait be enough to bring you down to the Stampede grounds this year?